Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cerulean Sins--chapter 30

Edit: Since my lovely anonymous friend has decided once more to promote my blog (for reasons I will never understand, given that she and I will never see eye to eye) I'd like to remind all my fantastic new readers to check out the brand new cover art WIP!

I love this lovely dear friend. She requires so much of me I would hate to see all her beautiful efforts go to waste.

So anyway, I split most of yesterday between editing Black Hounds and working on a top secret project. This project will only be announced when we are go for launch. But it will be awesome. As close to it as I can get, anyway.

I'll give you a hint. The new magical word for the day is typesetting.

(Also: MS Word 2007 was programed by drunken monkeys on a bet. The programers actually wanted the complete works of Shakespere, but they were giving the monkeys absenthe, not whiskey, and they wound up with an unusuable chunk of software instead. Yesterday was one part WHEE EDITING and one part WHY IS THIS HERE I DON'T EVEN DOES THIS WORK NO DELETE DELETE DELETE IT WON'T DELETE THIS IS WHY I DRINK, BLOG-READERS THIS IS WHY I DRINK!)

So. Anita Blake.

When I was just learning how to knit, I sucked at it. A lot. So my mom bought me a bunch of knitting books because when you are homeschooling "My daughter wants to learn how to knit" counts as home ec. Anyway, I decided that I wanted to do intarsia. Intarsia is where you have many colors of yarn and you knit pretty colorful patterns with them. This is how come argyle socks are a thing.

I did not make argyle socks, because socks were beyond me and I kept on introducing more color in the desperate hopes that eventually a pattern worth repeating would emerge, because I'd jumped immediately to the pretty chart, and I'd left the basic, ugly, beginner charts alone.

This is what this book reminds me of. LKH started out with one plot thread, the dude in her office at the beginning of the book (I read the wikipedia summery of the book. That's a plot thread) and introduced her second (Musette) her third (Anita's sex life) fourth (the effects said sex life is having on her men) fifth (Gross murders) sixth (Belle Morte wants Anita) seventh (Anita is being followed by weirdos) and now eighth (The Mother of all Darkness is...uh, a thing). Not only has she done this without CONNECTING any of the threads, she's done it without ADVANCING any of them. Anita is still having trouble with the ardeur, Nathanial is still weak, Musette is still locked up in her bedroom, the murders are still murders...NOTHING connects.

Part of writing is knowing when you need something to happen. If you can't do that, you can't write. Keeping the reader interested is essentially all that writing is, if you really think about it. That's why Micheal Bay is still getting paid to make things explode and film the burny bits, and why a trilogy about people literally walking from point A to point B so they can throw a ring into a hole is the thing that launched a thousand fantasy franchises. But for fuck's sake, the answer to "something needs to happen now" shouldn't fucking be "INTRODUCE A NEW THING" every single time your plot starts sagging. And it is EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. None of the things I mentioned up above us connect. A couple intersect, but none of them have resolved into a single thread.

So they pull over the car and lay out plastic because of bleeding, and then get back into the car. Anita theorizes, based on one singular encounter with the MOAD's thoughts, that the MOAD is a sociopath.

Yeah. Yo, Laurel?

Oh, you think I'm kidding, my loyal blog readers?

“If you don’t feel love or friendship, can you be lonely?” 

He raised eyebrows at me. “I don’t know. Why do you ask?”
 “We’ve all just brushed up against the Mother of all Vampires, and she’s more like the Mother of All Sociopaths. Human beings are rarely pure sociopaths. It’s more like they’re missing a piece here and there. True, pure sociopathy is really pretty rare, but Mommy Dearest qualifies, I think.”
No. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY. Human beings might rarely be murderous sociopaths, because that perfect storm of antisocial behavior and need rarely happens, but sociopaths are common. Like, 1 in 24 level common. A sociopath is not someone with precious pieces missing. A sociopath is somebody who is incapable of caring about the rules or other human beings outside of what those people can do for them. Not missing care. Incapable of care. It's different. Mostly because "Missing" implies that eventually, you can put that piece back.

So Anita thinks about eating Caleb for a few minutes (and compares the thought of biting into his jugular veign to eating a piece of hard candy) and then realizes that the car that was following them earlier is still following them. So the great vampire exicutioner decides to call somebody else and see if they ought to evade the jeep or try to catch the jeep.

Because making your own choices is hard!

Seriously, I get that part of this is "We need to sit down and make a plan, and if we want to catch them we need backup", and that's actually kind of reasonable, but Anita hasn't elected to do ANYTHING in this book, except maybe raise a zombie at the beginning and tell Random Dude In Her Office no, I won't work with you.

 And then, before calling the circus, she and a shapeshifted Jason decide to try to eat Caleb.


And then Anita gets a vision of Richard in the bathtub! And this happens!

Jamil being a good Hati (sic), making sure his Ulfric didn’t drown.
What? Random racism what? What does Jamil being Haitian have to do with keeping Richard from drowning? WHY THE FUCK IS HAITI MISSPELLED IN A FUCKING PROFESSIONALLY PUBLISHED FUCKING--

It was what Jason had done for me earlier, minus the sex. Richard was a little homophobic. He didn’t like men who reminded him they liked men, especially if that man was himself.

My brain has hit fail overload. Seriously. HOW DO YOU DO THAT? How do you manage to fail that hard in just three fucking paragraphs?

So Richard tells Anita that he's sent her his hunger for some reason, and that she can turn the hunger into sex.

 And then they have a psychic conversation where Anita is all like "You're okay with me fucking him?" and Richard is all "Well, the other option is eating him." and Anita is all like, "Well, you didn't let me fuck Jean Claude" and Richard says "We're not dating anymore, remember?"

And then Anita says this:
“Jason is in wolf form Richard. I don’t do furry.” theory is now that Anita wrote this book to test Penguin's will at honoring her "no editing" clause. Because that is the most unintentionally hilarious line in the entire book so far, and that was a whole truckload of fail.

And then Anita sends the Ardeur into Richard because this book has no idea what it's doing anymore and I don't think this suck is going to stop anytime soon send help please. 

 And then Jean Claude is awake and Nathanial tells her they're like five minutes away from the circus, can you hold off on the sex-feeding until then? Anita decides she can, and the chapter ends.


  1. I think Hati is his job title in the pack - it's been a while, but I remember there's a Freki and Geri and Bolverk and whatnot. Although it's weird that the author-who-re-explains-things-a-million-times hasn't spent six sentences on reminding us what this job title means.

  2. Oh, no, no, that wasn’t a misspelling of Haitian, it’s a title, Hati. Jamil is Hati in the Pack. It means one of Richard’s enforcers. Skoll and Hati are right under the Ulfric and are his right-hand guys, bodyguards, etc. They’re named for the wolves that chase the sun and moon in Norse lore.

    There’s the same plot thread problem in Bullet, the book I’m currently sporking now. What’s even worse is she manages to do entire chapters that don’t focus on ANY of them but are just find of…there. Like this random scene where Anita shows all the wereanimal guards up at the gym and nearly makes herself pass out in doing so…despite this being a time when the MOAD is on the move throughout America and thus not a good time to let yourself be in any weakened condition. And did I mention NOTHING HAPPENS? Yeah. All those threads, zip happening. Worst of both worlds.

    …human beings are rarely “pure” sociopaths? Compared to what? I mean, in her world there are alternatives to being human, yes, not just post-humans (vampires, therians) but sentient beings that were never human at all (merfolk, fae), but classing them by human standards of psychology (such as dubbing them sociopaths) and then concluding that humans who are sociopaths are less “purely” so by comparison to members of other species dubbed the same is just…flawed completely in so many ways. It’s especially flawed with the MOAD. Yes, she was at some point a living being, either a human (if she’s the ‘mother’ of the therian and vampire species only terms of being mother of vampire culture, as has been suggested) or a pre-human hominid like Mr. Oliver (if she’s really the first period, which makes more sense to me given her hybrid nature) but as it is, she has been something else entirely for thousands, perhaps millions of years. She is no longer human, she no longer has a human mind, thus she can no longer be classed in human terms or human disorders like that. She’s frequently called the living dark, the night personified, etc. She’s basically become a force of nature, albeit one with sentience. A dormant (though now stirring) volcano with a brain. Trying to understand her as a sociopath is not only wrong, but also counterproductive to defeating her, since part of knowing how to beat something is knowing how it ticks.

    Get used to LKH misusing the word sociopath, though, because she likes to bring it up a LOT despite clearly having no clue what it actually means

    …pretty sure a vein would not be like hard candy. Also, so she’s been worried about eating people since CS? Good to know. She’s still fretting about it in Bullet, and I wondered how long it had been going on. Since she’s had those urges since CS and has yet to give in, my theory that she’s never actually going to is solidified that much more. Oh wait though, did she actually try to eat Caleb? That’s so hilarious in my head, given that she does not have claws and fangs for real even if her ~inner beasts~ do, and Caleb himself is a wereleopard that CAN shapeshift thank you.

    Ah yes, the homophobia (and latent bisexuality!) that Richard only acquired AFTER his character became the whipping boy of the series who can Do No Right. Despite the fact that before, he not only showed no signs of this, he actually showed signs of the opposite---he was a straight guy who was not threatened at all by the lycanthrope lifestyle of everybody, including dudes, just kinda hanging out naked together.